The Tom Green County Commissioners Court has approved a new tax to help local hospitals treat uninsured patients.

"The net benefit to Tom Green County and the three hospitals in town will be roughly just shy of about 10 million dollars," said Shane Plymell, CEO of Shannon.

Plymell is excited to see how the new tax will help his hospital.

"Any additional resources that we get helps us in terms of recruitment of additional providers whether it be physicians or advanced practice professionals," Plymell said.

The Tom Green County Commissioners Court voted unanimously in favor of the program on Tuesday. It is called the Local Provider Participation Fund, or LPPF program.

"It's an opportunity for them to re-coop the cost that they have for treating individuals who cannot pay," said Rick Bacon, Tom Green County Commissioner for Precinct 3.

According to Shannon, with the clinic and the hospital combined, 10% of their patients are unfunded, or without insurance. Plymell said when you add up the yearly costs, it can get expensive.

"Our cost of uncompensated care would be around a little over 20 million dollars," Plymell said.

How the tax will work is all three hospitals in the area will pay 2.23% of their net revenue to the county. The money will then be processed through the state and then be reimbursed locally through a federal program.

"It will help us continue to keep healthcare local and that will also keep jobs local and keeps the economy strong," Plymell said.

The new tax is set to take effect at the end of January. The Commissioners hope the new tax will help the insured as well.

"If we can offset that cost, then it prevents them for having to raise any rates to absorb more," Bacon said.

The tax will affect Shannon, San Angelo Community Medical Center, and River Crest hospitals.